Sudanese Wins Prize For Promoting Good Governance

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Written by Dana Sanchez

Sudanese-born Mohammed Ibrahim, founder of a mobile communications company that operates in 23 African and Asian countries, was one of three recipients of the 2013 Global Economy Prize presented by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy, according to a report in HeraldOnline.

The other 2013 prize recipients included Gro Harlem Brundtland, a politician and a physician who was the first woman and the youngest person to be elected prime minister of Norway at age 44; and Joseph E. Stiglitz, a Gary, Ind.-born economist who was awarded the Nobel Prize for economics in 2001 with two other winners.

Kiel is a Germany-based international economic policy think tank. The prize has been awarded annually since 2005.

Born in 1946, Ibrahim founded Celtel and the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, whose mission is to promote good governance in African countries, according to a report in HeraldOnline.

Ibrahim earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Alexandria, Egypt, a master’s degree from the University of Bradford and a Ph.D. in mobile communications from the University of Birmingham.

After working for telecommunication companies, he founded MSI, a software and consulting company, in 1989. In 1998, MSI spun off MSI Cellular Investments (Celtel). Ibrahim sold Celtel in 2005 to found the Mo Ibrahim Foundation in 2006, according to the report.

In 2007, the foundation inaugurated the Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, a $5 million prize which is awarded to elected African heads of state who have improved their countries’ economy, social and public health, and who passed on their office to their successors in a democratic manner.

The foundation also annually publishes the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, which ranks the performance of African countries according to four criteria: safety and the rule of law, participation and human rights, sustainable economic activity and human development. The index is intended to be a tool that civil societies can use to hold their governments accountable. The foundation also organizes annual forums with topics relevant to Africa and provides scholarships to African students, according to HeraldOnline.

Ibrahim has been awarded numerous honors and prizes including the GSM Association Chairman’s Award in 2007 – the telecommunication industry’s highest accolade – and the BNP Paribas Prize for Philanthropy in 2008. Time Magazine included him on its list of the 100 most influential people in the world, the HeraldOnline report says.